Types of Asbestos Related Diseases

Being diagnosed with an asbestos related disease is a very worrying time, whether it is you or one of your loved ones.

As your solicitor, the first thing I would need to establish is which disease you have been diagnosed with as there are several different diseases of varying severity.

Most people will be aware that asbestos can cause a fatal cancer called mesothelioma. It is not as well-known that asbestos can also significantly increase the risk of someone developing lung cancer, particularly if they smoke as well.

However, most people diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases have a more chronic condition which restricts their breathing. This can be asbestosis or a slightly different condition called pleural thickening. Both these conditions restrict the movement and flexibility of the lungs. The effect has been described by sufferers as feeling like having an iron band around their chest. 

The final condition recognised as being caused by asbestos is pleural plaques. This is essentially scarring on the lungs, which only show up on x-rays. It is considered by the medical profession not to cause any symptoms and consequently a few years ago the courts decided that those with pleural plaques could no longer make claims. The law, which was made in the British Parliament, has been reversed by the Scottish Parliament for those exposed in Scotland and may be similarly reversed in Wales and Northern Ireland.

I recall many years ago going to see an elderly gentleman who wanted to know if he could make a claim for a bad back which he thought had been caused by working in the shipbuilding industry.

When I went to see him it became apparent that he had retired in the early 1970s and I had to advise him that employers would be judged by the standards at the time he was working for them and on that basis he would not be able to claim for his bad back.

He accepted this advice and we sat chatting, while his wife went to make a cup of tea. He mentioned that he had been diagnosed the previous year with asbestosis which was restricting his breathing. I explained to him that although his former employers at the shipyard would not be found liable for him having a bad back their knowledge of the dangers of asbestos would have gone back to the 1930s or before and in particular all shipyards received a letter just after the Second World War reminding them that in peace time they had to take more care about the use of asbestos. I was able to take on his case and shortly afterwards we were able to secure a payment for him from the insurers of the shipyard where he had been employed.

If you or a loved one has received a diagnosis of asbestosis or asbestos related illness and you would like free legal advice about whether you have a claim, I am happy to help. I offer no win no fee agreements with 100% of your compensation coming to you and a guaranteed personal service with home and hospital visits at a time to suit you. I have considerable experience over the past 24 years with asbestos related disease and I am happy to help you to make a claim. Support for those suffering with asbestosis in Merseyside can be found at the Merseyside Asbestos Victim Support Group.

Need advice? Call me on 0151 737 1701 or email me at http://www.knealesolicitor.co.uk/


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